Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Medicine | By Megan Pierce

Ransomware Cyber attack threat escalating: Europol

Ransomware Cyber attack threat escalating: Europol

He also said the NHS may have "got away with it" to some extent, as its "obsolete" computer systems could easily have been subjected to a targeted attack seeking to extract patients' personal data.

The global ransomware attack known as WannaCry has so far claimed 12 victims in Australia, the government said this morning.

The health service has been rebuked for using the outdated Windows XP operating system to store digital information, despite security updates for the software having been discontinued by Microsoft.

Ramsomware is software that locks a computer blocking access to it and encrypts computer files until a certain amount of ransom is paid.

The federal government has confirmed 12 reported cases of the ransomware, which has claimed more than 200,000 victims in 150 countries since Friday.

If you do so, Ransomware can enter into your computer.

It is essential that people take precautions to prevent cyber crime and make it as hard as possible for the thieves to succeed but the criminals also need to know they run a serious risk of being brought to justice. "We need governments to consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits".

The NHS cyber-attack should be treated as a wake-up call for organisations around the world, particularly, the health sector. "It is deeply disturbing the National Security Agency likely wrote the original malware".

The fact is that poorly protected encryption or outdated systems are deplorably prepared to deal with a new class of cybercriminals, thereby enabling access to patients' medical data, which is supposed to be confidential and intensely personal, and other crucial data such credit card numbers, patients' medical bills and other important informations apart from behemoth payouts.

The Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has been issuing advice on WannaCry since Saturday, and yesterday said the spread had slowed "temporarily". Researchers say new variants of the software have a similar kill switch, but they refer to different domains.

As MalwareTech noted in a blog post afterward, the ransomware was written to connect to an unregistered domain and "if the connection is not successful it ransoms the system, if it is successful the malware exits". People should continue to use the NHS wisely. But the agency reportedly developed the malware to be used for surveillance.

"T$3 his attack demonstrates the degree to which cybersecurity has become a shared responsibility between tech companies and customers", Smith said in his blog post. And while Microsoft said it had already released a security update to patch the vulnerability one month earlier, the sequence of events fed speculation that the NSA hadn't told the US tech giant about the security risk until after it had been stolen.

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